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Caring Magazine Feature Story: The Greatest Rewards Come From Caregiving

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
12/15/11  6:09 PM PST

The December 2011 issue of Caring Magazine features an article about the rewards of caregiving with an inside look at Shield HealthCare’s annual story contest for caregivers.

The Greatest Rewards Come From Caregiving by Heidi Gonzaga

The touch of a warm hand, a smile, sitting beside a loved one or having a great conversation about life – these are the simpler things that caregivers find rewarding. Caregivers give so much of themselves, but get so much more in return. Whether they are a paid caregiver or a caregiver at home for a family member, they have chosen this “job” for a reason – to give and to receive life’s greatest rewards. The connection between a caregiver and their patient can be remarkable – as they are bonding in a very special way.

Following is an excerpt from a grand prize winner in 2010, Sara T., caregiver for her husband: “…Leaving the doctor’s office, I feel like I can do anything, and my heart is filled with more love for my man than ever. I take a deep breath and feel honored to walk home with him. His wheelchair is heavy, his meals may take a great deal of time to prepare, and I may lose sleep helping him into dry clothes, but he is happy. I may not have the time to come and go as I please, or the money to do my hair at the salon, but I have my honey, and seeing him smile brings me great joy. Although caregiving is extremely hard work, I find strength from my faith in God, and knowing that the love of my life is doing well, is my reward…”

Shield HealthCare has been sponsoring a Caregiving Story Contest for the past 11 years and has received more than 1,800 touching stories overall. Last year a book of 100 such essays was published by Shield HealthCare to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the contest. The book entitled, “The Love of Caring,” was sold to raise money for the National Family Caregivers Association.

As a home medical supplies company, Shield HealthCare talks to caregivers first-hand who are calling for their patient’s medical supplies. Shield HealthCare customers need these supplies to manage incontinence, enteral nutrition, ostomy, urological, wound and diabetes. The heartfelt stories received for the contest are a true inspiration and testament to the compassion shown and hard work accomplished by caregivers day in and day out. The amount of time a caregiver spends tending to a loved one might be overwhelming, but one common theme runs throughout the hundreds of stories received each year – the caregiver gets way more in return than they ever thought possible.

It’s when a great conversation with an elderly patient turns into an inspiring history lesson, or when the patient is strong enough to tell the caregiver “it will all work out, don’t worry”. It’s also when the want for material possessions takes a back seat to just being still for the while, in the presence of someone who really needs company and care. When so much time is spent together, the bond between caregiver and patient is unmatched and meant to be – the greatest reward.

Shield HealthCare’s 11th annual “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding Contest” recently ended with over 300 stories submitted. The top 3 story winners will receive a $1,000 prize and commemorative wall plaque. The top 5 runners-up will receive a $250 prize. All winners will receive their prize money just in time for the holidays. The winners of the 2011 contest will be profiled on Shield HealthCare’s website in January 2012 at www.shieldhealthcare.com/caring. In the meantime, please visit the site to read the touching stories from our 2010 winners, like Sara T.

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